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No. 12 Razorbacks start season in Stillwater – Razorbacks Arkansas

STILLWATER, Okla. – Arkansas opens the 2022 cross country season ranked No. 12 in the USTFCCCA national coaches’ preseason poll and will race Thursday morning at the Cowboy Preview hosted by Oklahoma State.
The Razorbacks compete at 8 a.m. over a 5,000m course among a field that will include the host Cowboys along with Tulsa and Texas A&M. Live results will be available at this link: https://live.athletic.net/meets/17861
“We’re taking baby steps to start the season,” stated Arkansas men’s head coach Chris Bucknam, who is in his 15th season with the Razorbacks. “With this meet on Thursday we will be dipping our toes into the water and getting a look at the course. We’ll run most of our guys but have a couple we will hold out.
“It’s an important race to get our feet wet and it’s a shock to the system. Summer training is over, now you step on the line with other teams, and its race time. That’s what we are preparing for.”
Oklahoma State, the host of the NCAA Championships this season, is ranked No. 2 in the national preseason poll while Tulsa is tied for sixth with Wisconsin.
The top five teams in the national poll include Northern Arizona at No. 1, receiving eight first-place votes, while Oklahoma State earned one first-place vote in the No. 2 position. Stanford, with a pair of first-place votes, is No. 3. They are followed by BYU and Colorado.
Other SEC programs in the top 30 of the national preseason poll include Ole Miss at No. 19, Alabama at No. 26, and Tennessee at No. 30. Texas, from the NCAA South Central Region, ranks No. 27.
After being voted second in the SEC preseason poll, Arkansas is the top ranked squad among conference schools in the national preseason poll.
“It’s been a few years since where we’ve not been ranked No. 1 among the SEC during the preseason,” noted Bucknam. “Our kids are excited, and they know what’s going on.
“Hopefully, these kids we have competing now have learned from the great athletes we recently had in Gilbert Boit, Amon Kemboi, Emmanuel Cheboson and Andrew Kibet. They were great competitors when it really counted. People may sleep on us a little bit due to what we lost, but I think our kids will respond.”
The Razorback crew racing this week includes Patrick Kiprop, who makes his Arkansas debut in cross country after joining the program in January. During the 2021 cross country season, racing in Division II with Fresno Pacific, Kiprop was named USTFCCCA West Region Athlete of the Year and earned a National Athlete of the Week honor during the season.
As a Razorback, Kiprop has collected a pair of SEC 5,000m titles and finished second in the SEC 10,000m. He was the conference high point scorer during the SEC Outdoor Championships.
“We picked up Kiprop at the start of the spring semester and he went on to win a SEC indoor and outdoor title on the track,” noted Bucknam. “I think he was instrumental in our team win at the SEC Outdoor Championships leading a 1-2-3 finish for us in the 5,000m, the second to last event.”
Returning members who were part of the Arkansas fourth place team at the 2022 NCAA Championships include Jacob McLeod, Ryan Murphy, and Myles Richter. Joining them in Thursday’s race are Luke George, Reuben Reina, Tommy Romanow, Elias Schreml, Ben Shearer, Josh Shearer, and Jack Williams.
“Patrick has come back in really good form along with Myles Richter, Ben and Josh Shearer, and Jacob McLeod,” said Bucknam. “The thing I look at when I approach a cross country season is what kind of season they come off of in track.
“When you look at the athletes we bring back, even though we lost some great ones who did a phenomenal job for us, we have a lot of confidence in what these kids have done in the indoor and outdoor track seasons which were just a few months ago.”
USTFCCCA National Coaches’ Poll – Preseason 2022
 
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